AGENT ORANGE LAWSUITS UPDATE

Document Sample
AGENT ORANGE LAWSUITS UPDATE Powered By Docstoc
					  Vol.2 No.9 Serving Madera County Veterans                Sep. 2006
   Phone: (559) 675-7766     Email: dblessing@madera-county.com

AGENT ORANGE                                      Visit our Web Site at:
                                      www.madera-county.com Go to “Select a
LAWSUITS UPDATE                      Department” then scroll down to “Veterans”
04: Veterans who patrolled
                                       At Veteran Resources find back copies
the waters off Vietnam can
now claim disability benefits    on his skin. Veterans offi-      Moorman wrote. The Court
for exposure to Agent Or-        cials said that to qualify for   did not actually award a dis-
ange under an appeals court      coverage, Haas was re-           ability to Haas, but sent his
ruling that opens the door for   quired to have docked in         case back to the Board for
thousands of servicemen to       Vietnam and come                 that determination. If the
seek medical coverage. The       ashore.                          Board rules in his favor, the
ruling was handed down by            The three-judge panel        Court directed that his other
the U.S. Court of Appeals for    said regulations governing       Agent Orange-related medi-
Veterans Claims in the case      the benefits were unclear.       cal conditions also must be
of Haas v. VADC-Nicholson        The court said it made no        compensated.
by a former sailor who           sense for veterans who pa-           CONTINUED ON NEXT PAGE
served on an                     trolled Vietnam’s inland
ammunition ship during the       waterways and those sim-
Vietnam War but never            ply passing through the
stepped foot on land. The        country to receive medical
court’s order, issued 16 AUG,    coverage while those serv-
reverses the Veterans Affairs    ing at sea do not. “Veterans
Department’s denial of bene-     serving on vessels in close         Veterans Service Office
fits for Jonathan L. Haas,       proximity to land would               Madera Veterans Office
who blamed his diabetes,         have the same risk of expo-            321 W. Yosemite Ave.
nerve damage and loss of         sure to the herbicide Agent              Madera Ca 93637
                                                                             Suite 101
eyesight on exposure to          Orange as veterans serving                     Hours
Agent Orange. Haas, repre-       on adjacent land, or an               Mon., Through Fri. 8-5
sented by the National Veter-    even greater risk than that         Dennis Blessing, Service Officer
ans Legal Services (NVLS)                                                 (559) 675-7766
                                 borne by those veterans
argued that clouds of the        who may have visited and               Madera Transportation
toxic defoliate, which the       set foot on the land of the           (888) 826-2838 ext 6424
U.S. sprayed on Vietnamese       Republic of Vietnam only            from Merced ( 72 Hr. Notice )
jungles, drifted out to sea,     briefly,” Judge William A.            Oakhurst (559) 658-5399
englfing his ship and landing
The Veterans Affairs Department        the Vietnam Veterans of Amer-       over turned a BVA decision on
said Friday that it was reviewing      ica, said the ruling could allow    Haas. If the VADC-Sec Nicholson's
the opinion and was not sure how       thousands of veterans to seek       office does not appeal they have no
many veterans would be affected        coverage for service-related ill-   choice but to grant service connected
or how much the added coverage         nesses. Most are Navy veterans,     for Agent Orange Presumptive Dis-
would cost.                            he said, but some Marines and       abilities with military service with
   This VCAA decision could            Army veterans could be affected.    in the theater of Vietnam war for
eventually expand to cover more        Houppert said his group was en-     those with the Vietnam Service
veterans than the decision appears     couraging these veterans to seek    Medal. This decision will mean a
to now cover. During Vietnam           coverage quickly because            potential liability of millions of
was a short time frame where mili-     the ruling left it up to govern-    dollars to the VA Medical budget
tary service within the Theater of     ment officials whether to change    and VA Administrative budget.
Operations within the Vietnam          federal regulations in a way that   Potential claims from the wives of
War justified the Vietnam Service      could deny coverage. Vets can       already deceased Vietnam veterans
Medal. This included waters off        refer to www.vba.va.gov/bln/21/     could also mean considerable liabil-
the coast {so called brown water},     benefits/herbicide/#bm04 to re-     ity. This helps explain why the
deep waters for air operations {so     view what benefits they could be    VADC has been slow to provide
called blue water operations},         eligible for.                       positive guidance about this VCAA
Thailand based Operations for              As of 20 AUG the VADC-          decision. Haas is now the law of the
USAF and other types of opera-         legal office had not filed a re-    land and therefore VA must
tions which included loading the       quest for a stay order pending an   abide by it. However, it is possible
Agent Orange aircraft. Most Viet-      appeal to the Supreme               that VA may amend their
nam combat veterans receive some       Court. The Board of Veterans'       regulations in such a way that it is
medical benefits, but if their ill-    Appeals is sitting at the Phoenix   adverse to veterans who
nesses are related to their service,   VARO. The senior judge              otherwise would have benefited from
they could receive full coverage       has agreed to contact his office    the court’s decision. Service
and their families might be eligible   in Washington DC to get current     organizations are recommending that
for benefits. David Houppert,          guidance on implementation of       other veterans like Mr. Haas who
director of veteran’s benefits for     this decision. The VCAA ruling      served offshore but did not set foot
                                                                           in Vietnam, and who suffer from
                                                                           diseases or conditions that they be-
    The Guardian is published monthly by Dennis Blessing, Ser-             lieve to be caused by exposure to
  vice Officer of the Madera County Veterans Service Office. It is         Agent Orange should consider filing
  freely issued, via email, to all Madera Veterans and Service Or-         a claim for disability. Members
  ganizations.
    The primary purpose of this publication is to provide County
                                                                           who have had such claims denied
  Veterans with a timely news source; effectively informing veter-         may wish to re-file based on the
  ans of VA up-dates and other pertinent information. Hopefully, it        Court's decision. Veterans are en-
  will also serve as an inter-group vehicle, announcing important          couraged to seek the advice and
  activities and information offered by other local service organi-        assistance of an experienced veter-
  zations.                                                                 ans' service organization before
    Your comments and suggestions are always welcomed.                     proceeding. [Source: Associated
  Dennis Blessing, Publisher                                               Press article 18 Aug & Arizona
  Phone: (559) 675-7766       Email: dblessing@madera-county.com
                                                                           Department of Veterans' Services
                                                                           msg 23 Aug 06 ++]

The Guardian                                           Page 2                                   September, 2006
BAGHDADI, Iraq, Aug. 29, 2006 — A Marine’s quick thinking, coupled with a
series of well-aimed shots, saved lives July 27, according to Marines and Iraqi
soldiers serving here.

Cpl. Jeff Globis’ split-second decision to verbally warn near-by Marines and Iraqi
soldiers of an approaching suicide bomber while he was standing post at a mili-
tary outpost here allowed others to avoid a potentially life-threatening explosion.

Manning an observation point at the combat outpost, the 23-year-old infantryman
saw the speeding truck break through the base’s protective barriers. Globis opened
fire on the vehicle, which was loaded with hundreds of pounds of explosives, and
warned others to take cover – acts which many here said saved their lives.

Globis, a team leader assigned to the Hawaii-based Weapons Company, 3rd Bat-
talion, 3rd Marine Regiment, said he knew the truck was a suicide bomber as soon
as it turned a corner and attempted to drive through the outpost’s protective barri-
ers.

“I only had a few seconds to act, so I fired four shots through the windshield as
soon as he crashed through the first protective barrier,” said Globis, a native of
Winthrop Harbor, Ill. “When the truck stopped, I warned all the Marines and sol-
diers to move as far away from the front of the building as possible.”

Globis’ determinations were soon confirmed – the truck detonated and part of the
roof of the outpost collapsed. No Marines or soldiers were killed because they had
time to move away, avoiding the brunt of the blast, thanks to Globis’ warning.
  The Guardian                              Page 3                   September, 2 006
However, Globis, a 2002 graduate of Zion Benton High
School, refuses to take credit for saving the Marines and
soldiers that day because he “was just doing what any Ma-
rine would have done in that situation.”

Staff Sgt. Richard Charley, 29, disagreed and said that
many Marines and soldiers are still alive because of his
quick thinking.

“Globis saved several peoples’ lives that day,” said Char-
ley, a platoon sergeant. “He eliminated the driver of that
vehicle before he could penetrate further into the com-
pound and completely destroy the building.”

Globis will be awarded for his actions that day, but it is
undetermined which award he will receive, said Charley, a
native of Bishop, Calif.

This is not the first time Globis has potentially saved other
Marines’ or soldiers’ lives since he deployed to Iraq in
March.

A few weeks prior to the suicide bombing, Globis was
riding in a Humvee during a patrol through the city. Mo-
ments before the Humvee drove over a pressure-detonated                 U.S. Marine Corps Cpl. Jeff Globis’ split-second
improvised explosive device, Globis said he noticed it                  decision to verbally warn near-by Marines and Iraqi
from the corner of his eye and had the driver stop.                     soldiers of an approaching suicide bomber while he
                                                                        was standing post at a military outpost in Iraq’s Al
Upon inspection, Globis and the other Marines noticed the               Anbar Province allowed others to avoid a poten-
front tire of the vehicle was literally inches away from the            tially life-threatening explosion. U.S. Marine Corps
roadside bomb.                                                          photo by Sgt. Roe F. Seigle
“Globis has been exposed to a lot of danger since he ar-                Ahmed. “Marines like Globis have earned our loyalty and
rived in Iraq, but he has remained dependable and                       respect and we feel privileged to fight alongside them.”
mature,” said Charley. “Because of this, his subordinates and I
have the utmost confidence in him.”                                     Globis said he enjoys working with the soldiers and has
                                                                        learned good leadership skills, like patience and mentor-
                                                                        ing, because there is a language barrier between them
Recently, Globis was selected to be an infantry advisor for the         and sometimes he has to teach the soldiers the same
Military Transition Team here. Now he spends his days training          task more than once.
Iraqi soldiers – who are making notable progress as they con-
tinue to move towards operating independent of his unit’s sup-          “The reason we selected Globis to work with the soldiers
port, he said.                                                          is because he is one of the most dependable and mature
                                                                        Marines in the company and accomplishes difficult mis-
“The soldiers are stepping up and taking charge when we are on          sions, like leading soldiers on patrols, with little or no
patrol,” said Globis. “They want to succeed.”                           supervision,” said Charley.

“Ahmed,” a soldier who was slightly injured in the blast from the       Globis, and the rest of the Marines in 3rd Battalion, 3rd
suicide bomber said Globis is a great leader and motivates the          Marine Regiment, also known as “America’s Battalion,”
soldiers to fight the insurgency. He also said that he is alive         are scheduled to return to Hawaii this fall and be re-
today because Globis saved his life that day.                           placed by another Hawaii-based unit.

“I would have been killed if Globis did not give that warning,” said


The Guardian                                                        Page 4                                    September, 2 006
BAGHDAD EXPLOSION – Firemen and U.S. soldiers arrive on scene after a Vehicle Born
Improvised Explosive Devise (VBIED) exploded on a street outside of the Al Sabah newspaper
office in the Waziryia district of Baghdad, Iraq, Aug. 27, 2006. The VBIED destroyed more
than 20 cars, killing two people and wounding as many as 30. U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer
2nd Class Eli J. Medellin                                                SEARCH FOR CONTRA-
                                                                       BAND – U.S. Army Spc. Sam-
                                                                       uel Dumas secures the entrance
                                                                       of an Adhamiyah neighbor-
                                                                       hood apartment complex in
                                                                       Baghdad, Iraq, Aug. 31, 2006.
                                                                       Dumas' fellow soldiers from
                                                                       the 1st Battalion, 17th Infantry
                                                                       Regiment, 172nd Stryker Bri-
                                                                       gade Combat Team, are search-
                                                                       ing the apartments for weapons
                                                                       and other contraband items
                                                                       during a joint cordon and
                                                                       search mission by U.S. and
                                                                       Iraqi Army soldiers. U.S. Air
                                                                       Force photo by Tech. Sgt.
                                                                       Adrian Cadiz

  The Guardian                                  Page 5                         September, 2 006
The Guardian   Page 6   September, 2 006
As insurgents flee, joint forces strike gold
Tuesday, 05 September 2006
By Multi-National Division – Baghdad PAO
Iraqi Army Soldiers with the 7th Iraqi Army Division discover a weapons cache during a
cordon and search at the al-Anbar University in Ramadi, Aug. 2. Department of Defense
photo by Air Force Tech. Sgt. Jeremy T. Lock. CAMP FALLUJAH — Amid a steady
counter-insurgency campaign in Baghdad, Fallujah and surrounding areas, combined
U.S. and Iraqi forces continue to achieve major successes in locating and destroying en-
emy weapons caches hidden in those regions.

During recent clearing operations in Adhamiyah - as part of Operation Together Forward
- Iraqi forces and Soldiers from the 172nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, Multi-
National Division – Baghdad, captured an improvised-explosive device-making facility.
The find included a supply of bomb-making components, three mortar caches and engi-
neering manuals.

On the heels of success in Adhamiyah, Marines from Regimental Combat Team 5, mov-
ing as part of Operation Rubicon, recently uncovered hundreds of weapons and com-
bated insurgents in running gun battles in the town of Mushin, west of Habbaniyah.

Cpl. Brandon Stair, a team leader, was among the Marines who discovered the multiple
cache sites:
"This area was definitely an insurgent stronghold ... They had stuff for the long fight,
                                                                and they had stuff for to-
                                                                morrow. There were ini-
                                                                tiator systems ready to
                                                                go."
                                                                  Iraqi Army Soldiers with
                                                                  the 7th Iraqi Army Division
                                                                  discover a weapons cache
                                                                  during a cordon and search
                                                                  at the al-Anbar University
                                                                  in Ramadi, Aug. 2. Depart-
                                                                  ment of Defense photo by
                                                                  Air Force Tech. Sgt. Jeremy
                                                                  T. Lock.




The Guardian                                Page 7                             September, 2006
A U.S. Marine with Communications Company, 1st Marine Logistics Group,
fires an M-16 rifle during weapons training on Camp Habbaniyah. Depart-
ment of Defense photo by Marine Cpl. Samantha L. Jones.One cache yielded
500 blasting caps, each one capable of detonating a single IED. Another fea-
tured mortars. In yet another was a stash of insurgent sniper rifles.

"Every cache was a separate set-up," explained Gunnery Sgt. Kenneth A.
Westgate, a platoon sergeant. "We usually find just mortars or just guns.
These had a mix of everything."

Sgt. Joshua D. Cross, a reconnaissance team leader, spoke with local resi-
dents while operations proceeded. Cross said one local man, in particular,
told the Marines he was grateful for their efforts to rid the region of insur-
gents.

"He was real grateful for what we were doing there," Cross said. "That's
gratifying to hear that kind of result. We put a hurting on them. We slowed
them down for a couple of months."

                                                                  A U.S. Marine
                                                                  with Communi-
                                                                  cations Com-
                                                                  pany, 1st Ma-
                                                                  rine Logistics
                                                                  Group, fires an
                                                                  M-16 rifle dur-
                                                                  ing weapons
                                                                  training on
                                                                  Camp Habbani-
                                                                  yah. Depart-
                                                                  ment of De-
                                                                  fense photo by
                                                                  Marine Cpl.
                                                                  Samantha L.
                                                                  Jones.

The Guardian                            Page 8                        September, 2006

				
DOCUMENT INFO